A New Year brings to many of us, a fresh start, a clean slate, and a time to reflect on setting new goals and intentions to make changes in our lives. January can be a stressful month for many who set New Year’s Resolutions, often by mid February our resolutions are either disregarded or lost.
So, why is it so difficult for us to set goals and follow through on them for the year? The answer may lie in the way we go about creating our resolutions. Instead of focusing on broad goals, create a plan to form better habits. Routine and habit are powerful in forming our behaviour. Habit and routine have an enormous impact on our way of being. Habit impacts our health, efficiency, happiness and much more. Creating a habit can impact whether we keep or abandoned our resolutions in 2018.
The psychology of habit can provide insight into making your resolutions stick in 2018. Below are 5 ways to keep your resolutions in 2018:
- Get Specific and Realistic: Instead of writing a list of goals, write a list of actions that can be incorporated into your daily routine. The key here is to structure the behaviour so it becomes a habit. For example, Instead of writing a goal that you will lose 15 pounds by the end of the year, write a list of actions that you will incorporate into your day- so this can be scheduling 3 workouts a week, after work. People who break their resolutions up into manageable chunks, typically have more success because they have more control over the actions.
- Reward Yourself: Every habit has a cue that triggers the habit to start and makes our brain go into autopilot mode, then the behaviour follows, and the reward is experienced. This is how the brain learns to remember and habitually craves to create the experience again. For example, if your resolution is to lose weight, your cue may be to wake up at 6am to be at a spin class by 7am. Taking out 10 minutes to enjoy the steam room may serve as the reward that helps your brain associate the spin class with something enjoyable.
- Take baby steps. Be encouraged by small victories. Reward yourself!Whether your resolution is to quit smoking, get more exercise, or eat healthier, there is a period of initial change that has a major impact on emotions. Uncomfortable emotions from these changes can not only affect your overall mood, but those around you who are impacted by your lifestyle change. Make sure to take time out to connect with yourself and those around you by using healthy communication.
- Anticipate obstacles: In my practice, I like to encourage my clients to dig deep into their vault to explore their thoughts and feelings in order to understand what obstacles can get in the way of creating change in their lives or reaching their goals. So if we’re honest with ourselves, we can actually plan for the obstacles. And it’s much more likely that we will still follow through with our resolutions. It’s important to note that a slip up might just be part of the process. Just the same as if we take the wrong turn on a journey from A to B, best to turn around and get back on the right road.
- Perfectionismcan be exhausting and stressful with New Year’s Resolutions. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself– Resolutions are all about becoming a Better Version of yourself, and not the Perfect Version of yourself.